Creswell, Ballard and Evans lead Vanguards through December games
With almost half a season under their belts, three members of the Vance-Granville Community College men’s basketball team have emerged as the players to watch. Christian Creswell of Henderson (pictured above, left), a product of Crest High in Shelby, and two Durham Hillside High alumni, Jarrett Ballard of Henderson (pictured above, center) and Ronald Evans of Durham (pictured above, right), have excelled in various statistical categories.
On Dec. 2, the VGCC Vanguards fell to the junior varsity squad at four-year Guilford College in Greensboro, 88-60. The Quakers play in NCAA Division III. In that contest, Ballard led the Vanguards in scoring, with 20 points, while also making 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Evans contributed 12 points. Creswell was VGCC’s top rebounder (12), followed by Treyvon Rogers of Henderson (8).
Two days later, the Vanguards traveled to Jamestown to take on the Titans of Guilford Tech CC. The result was a 111-54 Guilford Tech victory. Creswell put up 20 points while Ballard added 15 of his own. Rogers and Creswell made 7 and 6 rebounds, respectively.
VGCC hosted Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Henderson on Dec. 7. With 23 points, Ballard led his team in one of its best offensive performances of the season, but it was not enough to withstand the MACU Mustangs, who came away with a 97-78 win. Creswell and Evans contributed 19 points apiece, while Creswell also put up the most rebounds (20) and blocks (5) of any Vanguard.
In another home game, VGCC lost to the Bulldogs from Pitt CC, 119-60, on Dec. 11. Creswell was not only the top scorer (19 points) but also the top rebounder (11) for the game. Ballard scored 17 points.
VGCC fell to Catawba Valley CC in Hickory on Dec. 14 by a score of 101-77. VGCC reduced a 20- point CVCC lead to 5 points going into half-time (48-43), and the game remained close until the final three minutes of the contest. A balanced offensive performance by the Vanguards saw Creswell score 24 points, Evans, 23, and Ballard, 22. In the case of Evans, his 23 points included 7 three-pointers. Evans and Donnell Fulmore of Raleigh each contributed 6 rebounds. Ballard led his team in assists (7) and steals (5). “CVCC threw everything they had at us,” said VGCC head coach Michael Woody. “If you didn’t look at the scoreboard the entire game, it played like a 2-3 point differential.” He also noted that coaches from opposing teams this season have applauded the VGCC players’ effort and “no pout, no quit” attitude, and even fans at away venues have cheered for the Vanguards in recognition of their limited number of players.
The Vanguards will be on holiday break until their first game of the spring 2014 semester, a rematch with the Guilford College JV team on Jan. 13. VGCC’s first home game of 2014 is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. versus Lenoir CC. All VGCC home games are set to be played at Aycock Recreation Center in Henderson, and all are free and open to the public.